Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup, Topped with Spinach-Basil Pesto for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was in the fresh pasta section in the grocery store, thinking about putting some in a soup when a package of gnocchi caught my eye. I like gnocchi--little potato dumplings and thought that they would be great in soup. Searching online, it appears that Gnocchi Soup is a thing--at least if you have an Olive Garden around you as copycat recipes for their Chicken and Gnocchi Soup are what popped up first. We don't have Olive Gardens here and I've not been to one in years although their Zuppa Toscana was a favorite of mine (Here's my healthier version from back when I ate meat.) ;-) 

I wanted a vegetarian soup and although I looked at a few recipes (both vegetarian and not) for inspiration, I ended up putting together my own Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup

I used coconut milk to make it creamy as although there was Parmesan in my packaged gnocchi, I try to stay away from lots of dairy with my asthma. I added white beans to make it more substantial and topped it with some homemade spinach and basil pesto for an extra pop of flavor. The result is creamy and satisfying--a good soup for a rainy weekend.

Creamy Gnocchi and Bean Soup with Pesto Swirl
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6-8)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes and liquids
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth or broth of choice (I used half homemade garlic broth & 1/2 non-chicken soup broth paste)
3 Tbsp cornstarch + # Tbsp cold water
1 can coconut milk or half-and-half
4 cups baby spinach, larger leaves chopped
1 lb gnocchi, fresh or frozen
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
pesto (recipe below) or fresh basil to serve

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions, carrot and celery and saute over medium heat about 5 to 6 minutes, until onions turn translucent and veggies begin to soften. Add garlic, thyme, bail and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant. 
Add tomatoes, beans, and broth and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer vegetables for about 10 minutes, until mostly softened. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until completely smooth. Add to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk, spinach and gnocchi to the soup and simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes, until spinach is wilted and gnocchi cooked through.

Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Serve soup with a swirl of pesto on the top and enjoy. 


Spinach and Basil Pesto 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 cups pesto)

2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, washed and lightly drained
2 cup (packed) basil leaves, washed and lightly drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and/or walnuts (I mixed them)
juice and zest of 1 lemon, or to taste
sea salt and black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse all ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor until chunky--stopping and scraping sides of bowl as needed. With food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil in through feed tube until pesto is blended and mostly smooth.   

Place leftover pesto in an airtight container and press a piece of plastic wrap on top before covering, store in fridge for up to 3 days, or place in ice cube trays and freeze, storing cubes in an airtight container in freezer.


Notes/Results: I like this soup a lot--both with and without stirring the pesto in. It's silky and rich with good flavor and gnocchi are like little dumplings. I included the recipe I used for my pesto but you could use your own or a store-bought version, or top the soup with some Parmesan and fresh basil instead. I would happily make this soup again.

We have some good friends and tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Vicki of I'd Rather Be At The Beach shared a classic Southern stew and said, "My husband loved Sonny’s  and really loved their Brunswick Stew (not all Sonny’s have it). I never made it at home, but when I saw this quick and easy recipe I decided to make it. I can’t imagine any restaurant making it with just canned ingredients, but I like quick and easy. ... I was really surprised at how good it was. Even my son Anthony said it was pretty good, and he’s never been a fan of any kind of stew."

Debra of Eliot's Eats made Napa Cabbage Salad with Green Chili Vinaigrette and Pinion with ingredients picked up on a trip to Santa Fe. She said, "All the way home (to keep myself awake) I planned what kind of New Mexico inspired meals we would have with the bounty of produce and other items that we had purchased from the local vendors. Making these meals will also keep us in that New Mexico state of mind for a bit longer. ... I served this salad for lunch the day after we returned with a warm tortilla (also from the FM).

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen made a Halloween perfect Black Beans and Carrot "Pumpkin" Soup and said, "I had seen somewhere on blogosphere that someone had cut the carrots into pumpkin shapes, so I decided to have a go especially with Halloween just round the corner. ... It is essentially a Black Bean soup with carrots.  You can blend the black beans or keep it chunky, its up to you.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought Homemade Potato Soup and Croutons and said, ", I wanted to share a homemade potato soup and croutons. Perfect for cool weather, I highly recommend it. ... I made this from a recipe in the Cottage Cookbook, one I had just received in the mail. Of course I adapted it a bit, I always do.   It's a lovely book. I reviewed it at Novel Meals."

Linda of shared Green Pea Soup and said, "I’m a slow food lover and have been making different soups and stocking up the freezer. This recipe comes out just like a certain condensed pea soup and it was delicious but the best part is it doesn’t have all the added salt. The recipe was in The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook which I picked up for $2 at one of the local Seedy Saturdays I went to. The cost to make this green pea soup was just under $1.50 and it made 6 servings. It’s a split pea soup with a twist."

Finally, here at Kahakai Kitchen I made some adaptations to an Ina Garten recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh with Herbs & Feta inspired by a recent book tour review. The salad is full of flavor and I made Ina's recipe a bit healthier. I have been enjoying it all this week. If you live in the U.S. or Canada and like foodie novels, be sure to stop by my post to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman.

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Those gnocchi look really good.

  2. your soup looks hardy for the fall weather we are finally getting. Love the pesto topping! Looks like everyone is starting to make soup- quite a list this week!

  3. I wish we were neighbors! We'd rock the block party with our cooking efforts combined :-)
    Great idea on the vegetarian version of gnocchi soup. I need that.

  4. I love gnocchi soup, never had it vegetarian though.

  5. Here's another New Mexico inspired dish this week, too, Deb. I love your soup. I am a big gnocchi fan and will order if at any restaurant when it's on the menu. Have a great week!

  6. I brought you a sandwich this week (inspiration from the book blog).

  7. Deb,
    I linked up a lentil soup made in the Instant Pot but the wrong photo attached- do you want me to link up again or can you grab the other photo?

    1. No worries Judee--I'll grab the other photo for the roundup. ;-)

  8. I've got a bean soup this week. I'll be hit and miss during November and away till early January. I'll link up if I have time and am able. We will be away visiting family on the west coast of Canada and having lots of fun. I'll be back to regular sharing in January.


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